Photo of Rose Lake, Fresno County, CA

Rose Lake Fishing

John Muir Wilderness

Photo of Rose Lake

Rose Lake

Rose Lake is only a little more than a mile off the famous John Muir/Pacific Crest Trail, but most hikers zoom on past it without making the 500-foot-climb detour to this isolated beauty. Fishing is surprisingly good for golden trout in the deep pools leading up to the lake and for brook and rainbows in the broad waters of this high country gem.

Making Your Way to Rose Lake

Rose Lake is a 12-mile, two-day hike into the John Muir Wilderness. 4-wheel vehicles are needed to reach the trailhead at the Bear Creek Diversion Dam. Alternate approaches are possible from Lake Edison.

For more details about the trailhead at the Bear Creek diversion dam and the hike up Bear Creek, see our Bear Creek page. You'll likely want to plan some time fishing along Bear Creek on your approach hike.

Because of the initial steep climb into the John Muir Wilderness, some people choose to be packed into the back country using the services of the High Sierra Pack Station. A camp along Bear Creek makes a good fishing base camp from which to visit Rose Lake and the many other lakes within easy reach.

In My Creel

  • #16 Black Gnat
  • Zebra Midge Fly
  • #14 Brown Elk Caddis
  • Royal Coachman
  • salmon eggs
  • Berkley Power Bait

For the small creek pools along Bear Creek and Rose Creek I had great success fishing with several different flies, but the gnat seemed to draw the most attention. Midday at Rose Lake I tried lures without much success and then did better with bait.

The Black Gnat was gobbled up almost anywhere I dropped it.

For those coming up from the Bear Creek diversion dam, hike up the trail to join the John Muir/Pacific Crest Trail and turn south, heading for Selden Pass. After hiking about four miles south and climbing 1000 feet, you will arrive at Rosemarie Meadow. There a prominent sign points the way to Rose Lake, an easy 500-foot, 1.2 mile trek.

Photo of sign pointing way to Rose Lake

Fishing is good in the deep pools along the way and most places along the shore of Rose Lake, especially around on the eastern side near the inlet stream. Fly fishermen I met coming down from the lake reported catching 9 and 10 inch rainbows.

Accommodations and Supplies

Before or after your wilderness fishing trip to Rose Lake you can find lodging at nearby Vermilion Valley Resort, Mono Hot Springs Resort, and Florence Lake Resort. Plentiful lodging, including vacation cabin rentals, can also be found at Huntington Lake or Shaver Lake. For more information about lodging and camping at Shaver, Huntington, and Edison lakes, see California's Greatest Lakes.

Photo of Rosemarie Meadow
Rosemarie Meadow

Several campgrounds are located in the area: Mono Creek, Mono Hot Springs, Ward Lake, Jackass Meadow, and Bolsillo. Others are found along the way back to Huntington Lake. Fair backpacking campsites can be found among the trees along the eastern side of Rose Lake, but as I mentioned before, I would select a base camp lower down along Bear Creek and use it to explore the more than 30 lakes in the area. Another good alternative is to camp at Lou Beverly Lake, a little more than a half mile off the John Muir Trail.

On your way to the Bear Creek diversion dam trailhead, you can pick up fishing supplies at any of these locations.

Recommended Books for Fishing the High Sierra

Photo of Rose Lake Creek

Rose Lake Creek

Other Nearby Featured Trips in
Fresno County:

High Sierra Trails

A Backpacker's Guide to the
Most Spectacular Trails
in the Sierra Nevada